Person Reference in Interaction: Linguistic, Cultural and Social Perspectives

Front Cover
N. J. Enfield, Tanya Stivers
Cambridge University Press, Apr 26, 2007 - Language Arts & Disciplines
How do we refer to people in everyday conversation? No matter the language or culture, we must choose from a range of options: full name ('Robert Smith'), reduced name ('Bob'), description ('tall guy'), kin term ('my son') etc. Our choices reflect how we know that person in context, and allow us to take a particular perspective on them. This book brings together a team of leading linguists, sociologists and anthropologists to show that there is more to person reference than meets the eye. Drawing on video-recorded, everyday interactions in nine languages, it examines the fascinating ways in which we exploit person reference for social and cultural purposes, and reveals the underlying principles of person reference across cultures from the Americas to Asia to the South Pacific. Combining rich ethnographic detail with cross-linguistic generalizations, it will be welcomed by researchers and graduate students interested in the relationship between language and culture.
 

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Contents

1
1
2 Two preferences in the organization of reference
23
3 Optimizing person reference perspectives
29
g
43
g
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Figure 34 Pointing ahead with neck eyes and chin
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Figure 35 Pointing to one side with head tilt and
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Figure 36 Rapid succession of pointing gestures on two person
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4
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Example 7 Speakers are taking a break from weaving and
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7 Person reference in Yucatec Maya
149
8 Principles of person reference in Tzeltal
172
9 The interactional meanings of
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11 Intersubjectivity and progressivity in person
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12 Repairing person reference in a small
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13 Reference and reference dangereuse
309

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Page 4 - But the uniqueness and immense pragmatic convenience of proper names in our language lies precisely in the fact that they enable us to refer publicly to objects without being forced to raise issues and come to an agreement as to which descriptive characteristics exactly constitute the identity of the object.
Page 4 - To put the same point differently, suppose we ask, "Why do we have proper names at all?" Obviously, to refer to individuals. "Yes, but descriptions could do that for us." But only at the cost of specifying identity conditions every time reference is made: suppose we agree to drop "Aristotle...

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